I created a primer to this project which explains the way we’ll be ranking all 185 players. It will be a pyramid structure and as we ascend the players will get better and better. Follow along this off-season as we preach about all the wonderful talent that has played for Notre Dame.
Today, we begin the 3rd level and climb the pyramid once again.
Consensus or Unanimous All-American
Major CFB Award
77. Ray Eichenlaub, FB, Columbus, Ohio (1911-14)
A four-year starter at fullback who didn’t lose a game through his first 3 years on campus. Eichenlaub was the tough runner who allowed Notre Dame to set up its early century passing attack that would make the school famous. In 1913, he scored an amazing 12 touchdowns and picked up All-American honors. Eichenlaub is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame inducted in 1972.
76. Bert Metzger, OG, Chicago, Illinois (1928-30)
Metzger famously weighed just 149 pounds but had the tenacity to start on Knute Rockne’s teams. He won 2 championships on Rockne’s last two teams and was an All-American for his senior 1930 season. Metzger was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
75. Eddie Anderson, E, Mason City, Iowa (1918-21)
One of the early top pass catchers in Notre Dame history. Anderson caught 3 touchdowns in a game–a record that wasn’t tied for 30 years and then broken 85 years later. He recorded an astonishing 687 receiving yards over his last 2 seasons while being awarded consensus All-American honors after 1921.
74. Jeff Faine, C, Sanford, Florida (1999-2002)
A tough leader on the offensive line and one of the top players from the late Davie and early Willingham eras. Faine started at center for 3 seasons and was awarded first-team All-American honors from a couple services but just missed out on consensus honors for 2002. He left with a year of eligibility remaining before moving on to the NFL.
73. Dick Arrington, OG, Erie, Pennsylvania (1963-65)
One of the best two-way players on the first two Parseghian teams. Arrington was a stout 5’11” 230 pounds and helped block for the blossoming offenses in 1964 and 1965. He was awarded unanimous All-American honors after his senior season.
72. Harry Stuhldreher, QB, Massillon, Ohio (1922-24)
The quarterback of the famous Four Horsemen. Stuhldreher didn’t score as many touchdowns as his teammates (22 for his career) but he was an effective field general for an offense that spread the ball to many different playmakers. He was also the primary punt returner for the team (701 career punt return yards) which is 5th most in school history. A consensus All-American after Notre Dame’s first National Championship season in 1924, Stuhldreher was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1958.
71. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2013-17)
A two-time captain, McGlinchey made his first career start in the bowl game to end 2014 and finished his career with 39 straight starts for the Irish. He developed fully once he made the switch from right to left tackle in 2016 and picked up some All-American honors as a senior. McGlinchey returned for his 5th-year and it paid off while he was awarded consensus All-American honors.
70. Jack Cannon, OG, Columbus, Ohio (1927-29)
Noted as the last Notre Dame star to not wear a helmet during play on the field. Cannon was the apprentice to Clipper Smith at guard and became an even better player when given the opportunity. He was captain of the 1929 National Championship team and was awarded consensus All-American honors following his senior year. In 1965, Cannon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
69. Joe Montana, QB, Carroll, Pennsylvania (1974-78)
Montana is a curious case because he played in an era of modest passing and his numbers do not justify the excellence from his NFL career. He played briefly as a sophomore establishing a penchant for comebacks, sat out 1976 with a shoulder injury, and eventually led the Irish on an unbeaten run to the championship in 1977 after winning the job in week four.
When he left Notre Dame, Montana was 2nd all-time in yards per game and 7th in winning percentage for a starting quarterback. He is now 9th and tied for 8th in those categories today.
68. Victor Abriami, DE, Baltimore, Maryland (2003-06)
Considered the heart of the first two Weis-era defenses. Abriami largely came out of nowhere as an upperclassman to become one of the most productive defensive ends in the country. He holds a tie for the most sacks ever in a game with four and his 10.5 sacks is the 3rd most in a season. For his career, Abriami is tied for 3rd all-time in sacks and tied for 5th in tackles for loss.
67. Jack Snow, WR, Long Beach, California (1962-64)
A lightly used end (receiver) for most of his career, Snow exploded on to the scene as a senior in a way that has hardly been replicated to this day. He was Notre Dame’s first 100-yard and 200-yard receiver in a single game and his 217 yards in the ’64 opener was a school record. Additionally, his 60 catches and 1,114 yards were also school records at the time, finishing 2nd in the country in receptions for 1964. A consensus All-American after his senior year, Snow also finished 5th in the Heisman voting in a year his teammate won the award.
66. Jim Crowley, RB, Green Bay, Wisconsin (1922-24)
As part of the Four Horsemen backfield, Crowley did a little bit of it all. He was a top-notch runner, threw the ball as much as the quarterback, picked off 6 passes, occasionally returned kicks, and kicked PAT’s, as well. After his senior season he was awarded consensus All-American honors following Notre Dame’s first National Championship. In 1924, Crowley totaled 1,240 yards from scrimmage more than anyone else on the team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
65. Allen Pinkett, RB, Sterling, Virginia (1982-85)
Pinkett is tied for the most carries in a game, 2nd most attempts in a season, and still the Notre Dame record holder for attempts in a career. His 1,394 yards in 1983 is the 3rd most in a season. When Pinkett left South Bend he was Notre Dame’s career rushing record holder and is currently 2nd all-time. His 96.1 yards per game is the most for any Irish back over their career. Pinkett finished 8th in the 1985 Heisman race and is Notre Dame’s all-time touchdown leader with 53 scores.
64. Tyler Eifert, TE, Fort Wayne, Indiana (2009-12)
Eifert’s career was nearly ended following a back injury as a freshman before he grew into one of the game’s best tight ends. As a sophomore he put up respectable numbers and then totaled 113 receptions in his junior and senior seasons. His 63 receptions in 2011 are the most ever in a season from a Notre Dame tight end. He’s 8th all-time in receptions regardless of position and Notre Dame’s all-time leader in catches by a tight end. Despite never being awarded consensus All-American honors, Eifert won the Mackey Award as the country’s top tight end.
63. Clarence Ellis, CB, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1969-71)
Perhaps the top corner of the Parseghian era, Ellis started for 3 years and up until recently was Notre Dame’s all-time leader in passes broken up. He also picked off 13 passes over his career which is tied for 3rd most by an Irish player. Ellis picked up some All-American honors as a junior and was awarded consensus All-American status following his senior season.
62. Jerome Bettis, RB, Detroit Michigan (1990-92)
A bruising tailback/fullback hybrid with deceptive quickness and speed. Bettis played sparingly in 1990 and then became a dominant force over his last 2 seasons in South Bend. He scored 16 rushing touchdowns in 1991, one fewer than the school record and his 20 total touchdowns that season is the most ever by a Notre Dame player. Bettis won some All-American honors in 1991 and left early for the NFL after 1992.
61. Michael Floyd, WR, Saint-Paul, Minnesota (2008-11)
Floyd missed 8 games over his career due to injury and still re-wrote the Irish records books. His 100 receptions in 2011 are the most ever in a season and his career 85.7 yards per game is also 1st in Notre Dame history. Floyd has the most 100-yard receiving games for a career and has a healthy lead for most receptions and receiving yards in Irish history. His 37 touchdown receptions also leads the program record books. Somehow, Floyd never came close to much All-American honors.